Louis van Gaal says Manchester United are playing with 'more confidence'
By Charlie McFaulds
Last Updated: 06/02/16 1:53pm
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal claims Wayne Rooney is not correct with his assessment that the team are now playing with greater "freedom".
The United captain suggested after last week's FA Cup victory at Derby that Van Gaal had released some of the shackles on the team.
Those sentiments were echoed by midfielder Jesse Lingard after United produced one of their best displays of the season in the Premier League to beat Stoke 3-0 in midweek.
But Van Gaal, who has attracted considerable criticism for the defensive, slow and possession-based style he has brought to United, reckons Rooney is simply finding form and momentum, having scored seven goals in as many games.
Van Gaal said: "I'm not agreeing with the remark of Wayne Rooney when he said that, because it is only that they have more confidence.
You want to write in your paper that it's because he (Rooney) gets another training session in another style, because Louis van Gaal gives more freedom... no, it is still the same.
Louis van Gaal
"And it is especially so with Wayne Rooney, who is saying that because he has scored seven goals. He can say that he is playing with more freedom because he has more confidence.
"But you want to write in your paper that it's because he gets another training session in another style, because Louis van Gaal gives more freedom... no, it is still the same.
"We train still the same way. It is not because of the change of attitude of Mr Louis van Gaal or another way of training. No. I'm sorry to say that. We are always working hard and very professionally in the philosophy of Louis van Gaal.
"And that is also for Jesse Lingard."
Juan Mata has also impressed in his preferred number 10 position in the last two games, leading some observers to ask why the Spaniard has not played in that role more often.
Van Gaal claims it is because the former Chelsea man was not in good enough form last time he tried him there.
The Dutchman said: "I have already played Mata in the same role. Maybe you remember that. I'm not changing him from that role. He has changed himself because at that time, he wasn't good enough. That is the reason.
"It is not the trainer-coach or the manager, but when he is playing like he has played now, he shall play at number 10."